How early can you take a pregnancy test – and get an accurate result?

Team TRB in partnership with Ovum  |   4 Sep 2023

Whether you’re waiting to find out if your embryo transfer has been successful or you’re trying to conceive naturally and facing the dreaded two-week wait, POAS (peeing on a stick) can become all-consuming.

Understanding the different accuracy and sensitivity levels of tests is, therefore, key to ensuring you have peace of mind when testing. Taking care of your mental health is also important to help with the pain that can come from a negative test result.

For a long time, the TTC (trying to conceive) community has felt ignored by mainstream brands who only focus on the positive outcome of testing while ignoring the experience of those who are testing frequently and still waiting for those two lines. Combine that with a growing demand for more environmentally friendly products, and there’s a need for a new disruptive brand of pregnancy test: one that not only offers the highest accuracy, value for money, and recyclability but also respects your journey as you try to bring a baby home.

Meet Ovum

Ovum pregnancy tests were created by a team of fellow fertility warriors and Doctors who wanted access to recyclable, high-quality, discreet, and reasonably priced pregnancy tests while navigating the pain of infertility.

Ovum pregnancy test

How early can you take a pregnancy test?

A question we all want the answer to, but unfortunately, the answer is not clear cut and varies depending on the accuracy and reliability of the test you’re using.

Pregnancy tests detect hCG in urine and will deliver a positive test result if levels are detected. The levels at which they make that detection depend on the sensitivity of the test; it is, therefore, crucial to check the sensitivity of the test you’re using so you choose one that’s right for you.

Most tests offer a 20 or 25 mIU/mL sensitivity level, measured in milli international units per millilitre, and these are 99% accurate only when used on the day of your expected period. If you test any earlier than this, the accuracy rates drop considerably, and the result is less reliable.

Testing too early with a less sensitive test could mean obtaining a negative test result simply because the test isn’t sensitive enough to detect hCG in your urine yet. You could well be pregnant but still obtain a negative test result.

The Ovum test is more than 99% accurate in confirming pregnancy 3 days before your expected period. At 4 days before your expected period, the test result is 97% accurate, and at 5 days before your expected period, the test is 77% accurate.

how early can i do a pregnancy test

Here are our top tips if you prefer to test early:

  • Choose a highly sensitive test, like Ovum’s. You want this to be at least 10mIU/mL, and you’ll find this information printed on the test packaging.
  • Follow the instructions in full. Instructions For Use (IFUs) can be confusing, and it isn’t always clear what the accuracy levels of a test are depending on how many days before your expected period you choose to test.
  • Use the timer on your phone to check your results at the right time. Waiting too long or reading it too quickly could give you an inaccurate answer or an evaporation line.
  • Recently stopped using contraception? Are you using fertility drugs (such as clomiphene citrate) or other drugs containing hCG? This can lead to misleading results so please check with your clinic for guidance on when to test.
  • A recent miscarriage or pregnancy, including a chemical pregnancy, may give you a false positive when you’re no longer pregnant. This is very hard to deal with, but it’s important to be aware of when testing.

Why we rate Ovum pregnancy tests


Ovum tests detect urine hCG concentration at a sensitivity of 10mIU/ml; this makes them amongst the most sensitive tests available, offering trustworthy early results during what can be an incredibly difficult time:

Ovum test pregnant women positive result

These findings are from clinical studies involving over 1000 pregnant women (aged 20-40 years).

Genuine support

Each box of tests provides free and immediate access to guided meditation in the event of a negative result with renowned Fertility Mindset Coach Alice Rose. Ovum also purposefully designed jargon-free, beautiful, and easy-to-follow instructions to help your testing experience.

Value for money

Each box includes 4 midstream tests for £19, recognising how often we test during a cycle and ensuring value for money.

No more used tests in landfill

Unfortunately, no used pregnancy test can be recycled in usual household recycling. Ovum is working to change that, but for now, they offer full recyclability of their tests by including a Freepost envelope in each box so you can post your used tests and wrappers directly to Ovum’s UK recycling facility.

Plastic negative certified

The tests are certified and registered with the rePurpose global waste reduction initiative, so for every kilo of plastic used in the tests, Ovum funds the removal of twice as much plastic from the environment.

Ovum is also a B Corp (pending) company and donates 20% of all profits to fund research into causes of infertility and fertility awareness campaigns.

Keen to try out these new tests? You can learn more about them here and enjoy 15% off your first Ovum order with code TRB15.

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